The Benefits of Yoga Nidra for Mental Health

Yoga nidra is the art of simply being.

In our modern society, we are accustomed to doing more to achieve more. Even when we are asked to relax, we wonder: how do I do that? Eastern philosophy teaches us that we already are who and where we need to be. We don’t have to change anything about ourselves. This is a radically different view than we have adopted in Western society, in which we are driven to do more and always strive for ‘better’ (whatever that may mean). Eastern perspectives say there is nothing to be fixed – a viewpoint that supports full acceptance of the self. As the psychologist Carl Rogers put it: “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself, just as I am, then I can change.”

In other words, allowing yourself to rest and restore can have a deeply healing effect, countering the tendency to cross your own borders. Yoga Nidra has a broad range of benefits that can help you to heal, as described by Kamini Desai (author of the book Yoga Nidra: The Art of Transformational Sleep):

  • It brings you to a state of non-doing that allows you to sleep better, neutralize excess stress and restore the body
  • It teaches you to relate differently to your thoughts and redirect the patterns of worry, anxiety and fear that affect our ability to enjoy life, our loved ones, and ultimately our health
  • It helps you to process and resolve emotional experiences, a necessary but often unconcious step in healing from our past traumas
  • Ultimately, all these benefits of Yoga Nidra prepare us for its all-encompassing purpuse: experiencing our true nature, our essence, to grow closer to who we naturally are.

Would you like to try yoga nidra? During the lockdown, I am teaching an online yoga nidra every Thursday evening.

For the Dutch readers: I also have a 21-day Yoga Nidra Challenge available through YogaZenter Academy. The challenge is to integrate 30 minutes of relaxation into your day – which is a great antidote to stress and suffering.

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